Synopsis for
"The Cleaner" Split Ends (2009)

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We begin the episode in typical FLASH-FORWARD style with William fighting for his life underwater. A man on a surfboard swims toward the Cleaner and pulls him to the surface. The two make it to shore -- and William promptly begins to strangle his savior. What gives? We'll find out soon enough

FLASHBACK to a middle-aged woman approaching the Cleaner. "I'm afraid my daughter is going to die," mom says. "She's struggled for years with her her problem." Little girl is a heroin addict who didn't even make it to dad's recent funeral. Mom urges the Cleaner to hurry. "She stands to inherit millions of dollars and, if she does, I'm afraid it will be the end of her," mom says. Ruby, the addict's twin sister, seems less than concerned. It's clear that she dislikes her junkie sis immensely.

A telephone call from Melissa interrupts the meeting. "Greg's here," the Cleaner's ex-wife whispers -- and she doesn't seem all that happy about it. Moments later, William returns home and greets Greg, a surfer, with a huge hug. The two old friends reminisce about their glory days as younger, surfing party dudes. Melissa clearly isn't happy to see Craig. "Don't take it personally," William tells his buddy. "I think you remind her of who I used to be."

William and Greg head to the garage, where Arnie and Akani have found daddy's little heroin addict selling herself online. Akani, who recognizes Greg as a surfing champion, explains the plan: Arnie and Akani will pose as a married couple looking for a little excitement. That excitement will be the unsuspecting Amber. The Cleaner tells his crew to look for tracks on her arms. "If she's using, we'll grab her," William says.

Cut to red-haired Amber, who smokes the bad stuff before heading inside to strip for Arnie and Akani, who both seem to be enjoying this ruse a bit too much (but who are we to judge?). Akani soon notices track marks on Amber's leg and the team springs into action. William rushes into the room and corrals the addict with the help of Arnie and Akani. There's an "I" in heroin, but not a single one in team.

Later, Melissa shows up at the garage to find Greg alone while William tends to his business. Greg says he didn't know Melissa and the Cleaner had recently broken up. "Don't feel guilty enjoying yourself -- you deserve it," he says. "If you want to talk about anything, I'm a good listener." Ol' Greg is clearly hitting on Melissa, who doesn't appreciate it. Nor do we, frankly. Wonder how the Cleaner will feel?

Amber, strapped down to a bed, begs for a hit and promises to do anything for it. ANYTHING. This is not the behavior of an heiress. It's a good thing Arnie and William aren't interested. Later, Melissa confronts William on her way out of the garage. "Your friend Greg -- he hit on me," she says. "He just asked me out for coffee." William promises to talk with his good buddy Greggers, who denies any malfeasance. The Cleaner isn't buying it. "You got everything under control, man?" William asks. Greg, who happens to be married, swears he is no longer using -- drugs or people.

The pair appears to reconcile when Greg gives William a beautiful homemade surf board. Suddenly, Amber starts to SCREAM like a banshee, threatening William, Akani and anyone else who wanders into the room. Akani gives the heiress a shot and she promptly passes out. Later, Amber awakens and confronts the Cleaner. "Your family hired me to get you sober," William says. Argues Amber: "My family doesn't care about me!" William disagrees, telling the girl she is beautiful. "Thank you," Amber whispers.

The next day, a sober-looking Amber meets her mother at the lawyer's office. It's time for the reading of the will. Turns out dad left mom the house. After mom dies, Amber will get the house. Just then, Ruby rushes into the office, apologizing for being late. The lawyer then explains that the deceased had serious gambling debts. "I'm sorry, but there's nothing left," the lawyer said. "Your husband lost everything -- everything except the house." Ruby goes pale. "Well, you finally did it!" she screams at Amber. "You took everything for yourself, you selfish bitch!"

Moments later, Ruby pops pills. "I have a prescription," she tells the Cleaner. Says William: "I didn't say anything." Then again, he doesn't have to. The Cleaner's judgmental gaze says all. Ruby then turns on mom, explaining that she is "totally broke." Amber apologizes -- to no avail. "I've been the one holding this family together!" Ruby screams. Afterwards, William and Amber head to the beach, where the recovering addict confesses to William that she was drugged and raped by one of her father's friends at the tender 13. "I never really had a real family," Amber says.

Back at the garage, Amber runs into Greg, who offers her pills the moment William's back is turned. What an ass. Sometime later, Greg sneaks into Amber's room in the back of the garage. Against her better judgment, the addict agrees to trade sex for drugs again. Greg produces the pills and begins rubbing her leg. Suddenly, William enters. "It wasn't me, man!" Greg says. "It was her!" William is FURIOUS. "You bring drugs into my house?" he demands. "You put this little girl's life at risk!?" Greg tries to apologize, but the Cleaner cuts him off. "Get out!" William says.

Meanwhile, Arnie arrives at the mother's house. She asks permission to take Ruby in for treatment. Mom denies that her other daughter has a problem. "From what I can see, your daughter is addicted to opiates," Arnie says before leaving. Mom heads inside, where she finds that her supposedly good daughter has been hording drugs. "You stole your father's pain medication?" incredulous mom asks. Pleads Ruby: "I need it, mommy!" Yikes.

William confronts mom, telling her to accept her part in the twin's misfortunes. "I don't deserve to be a mother!" she cries. Says the Cleaner: "You need to tell your daughters what you told me. You need to make a stand. Right here. Right now." Mom says he can't do it alone. And guess what William says? You guessed it: "We'll do it together." And so they do. Mom opens her heart to Amber while sad music plays. Then it's on to the house. William kicks down the door to find Ruby hiding behind a curtain. "I will sue you!" she screams. "Do you know who I am!? I went to Harvard!" Mom pleads with her daughter. "Let this man help you," she says. "Please." And so Ruby does.

Good work, mom. And good work, Cleaner. But, hey, what about the surfing/strangling scene from way back at the beginning of the episode. Glad we asked. Cut to the beach. William surfs in rough waters and is soon sucked under. Greg swims to the rescue. The Cleaner becomes the Choker. Then he seems to realize what he is doing and lets go.

Sometimes, you just gotta let go.
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